The last word of that so common phrase “Happily Ever After” receives so very little attention. Few people seek to hear the romance in the heart of a widow. Yt she is the “Same Girl” that she once was, just filled with memories and heart ache. Twila Paris put this poem into song years ago.

“She’s still the same girl running down that hill

“She’s still the same girl with her shining smile

“Listen to her story, and your heart will glow

“She’s still the same girl, and she needs you so.”

Link to the video and song is found below. I discovered this song on Mother’s Day years ago shortly after my grandfather passed away.

On Valentine’s Day this year while the world was feeling sorry for the singles, I spent my lonely hours of the day in prayer for the lonely hearts of the aged. All through the years my connection to widows has taught me more than I could tell in one writing. These are the stories of all those whom I found friendships and kinships with through the years. Today I share the beginning to the tales.

When we got married nearly 28 years ago I was truly a princess bride. I believed in Happily Ever After. Once upon a time I thought my role as a wife, mother and teacher-mom, and church pianist was all that there was to my life and calling. I nevert really considered that one day there would be an After.

I was one of those Happily married women. I am still a happily married woman. I also believe that we are one of those Ever couples. You know, the kind that’s married 59 years and no one ever sees them alone, they go everywhere together. We also are not one of those couples with the secret closet that once opened buries all future hopes of love, joy, and peace. Happily Ever After describes me and my dear loved one.

I am also one of those moms that is once a mother always, ever a mother. And now happily I am in the Happily After Grandmother days. My parents are again, and time marches on. Now what?

What about this After thing? After those days of mothering, of trying to straighten wrinkles, smooth out the gray lines and put on the new hoodies, now what? After those days of constant busy and happily fussing ever rushing about, is there really an After?

What am I to do in this ever silent hallway that my children, now happily married, once called home? How do I continue on in the emptimess waiting for the love of my lifeto come home from his long day? How do I fill these ever long, forever boring hours waiting for the After to begin?

As I wait for the days to burst anew with some grand vision or scheme, it finally came to me. Suddenly, I remembered… While I was once waiting for my Happily Ever After I met women in their After. First there was one woman adn then another through the years that came to my mind. Women in the “After ” of life whose friendships filled me with kinship and a sisterly, motherly, grandmotherly bond that could not be met by anyone else.

After. These are their stories.

James 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” NLT.

Maybe all these years I did not really understand what my true calling in this world was until now. All through the years I have had a lonely heart connection with many widows. I hope to convey their silent years into the words that will help others understand their hearts the way that I have. When I spent time with a widow woman or man, I always felt so blessed. Some never knew anything about me. But listening to her stories filled me with such contentment. Hearing about his wounds always brought about humor somehow. The strength that they shared with me is undeniable. And now their strength to carry on can be yours. Just listen…

Wall flower

Silent, quiet, death

There you hang


No one notieces



No longer fragrant


But not defining

You were once soft


You were once fragrant

Crying your pain

Sharing your dying petals

Searching for water

Drinking emptiness



You hang there in defiance

“Remember” you say

“Remember when” you say

“Remember when the day”

You say “the day”

As if one silent, death defining moment

The wall flower wants to live on

The dead, hanging petals cling

Cling to the once vibrant stem

Upside down they cling

Death defying



Wall flower

–written by yours truly this difficult day

The past month has been hard. While the world buzzes around me with activity in preparation. I feel more like a plucked flower. Everyone is busy with something. Trying to stay busy, but never accomplishing any thing, well, just does not amount to anything.

Doing instead of being.

Being instead of doing.

Struggling to write something. I have nearly half a dozen blog drafts and nothing o show for them. The finishing feels like grasping thorny rose bushes. My mind just cannot seem to wrap itself around a complete thought.

Tonight my decision not to cry myself to sleep, resulted in returning to the living room where these hanging flowers on the wall greeted me as I sat in my chair.

In the olden days, a “wall flower” was the girl at the dances that no one ever danced with. I can relate somewhat, as I have not danced with someone on a dance floor more than a hand full of times. I relate to the one sitting in the corner watching the whole world go on dancing having a great time and never really noticing the wall flower.

This “feeling” has happened to me so many times that seeing myself tied up with a ribbon and hanging from some nail on the wall… yeah, you get the picture.

Going blind has it’s defining moments.

Today was one of them for me.

Sitting in a crowded room full of gathered bouquets, who would chose the dried petals over all of the one’s in the vases, or on the bushes, or in the planters? Yet here I am in the world of fragrant flowers, drying up. Clinging to the stem, yet receiving no water. No more life giving, fragrant potions.

The feelings are hard to explain. They are difficult to grasp. The tears come way to easily sometimes. Recognizing the death of a certain way of doing things. Defining myself as that blind lady over there. Some things are best put into poetry.


Now I’ll go cry myself to sleep.

I’ll crush some old rose petals hanging on some nail on the wall. And be mad at myself for not remembering where they came from.

The crickets are singing

Of love songs and moving slow

The lazy yellow moon…

Those days of the lazy moon and the floating breezes have long gone by. Seems more like the the moon is racing to reach the other side. The days really do go faster when you get older. It’s all relative the the number of nights you have already sat gazing at the moon too long and the duties of life call your name.

We’ll be falling in love…

When thoughts of “Our Song” (Fishing in the dark by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) my heart automatically picks up that beat that begins the piece. Summer nights that began our love story so many years ago. Fishing wasn’t anywheres close to the plans that we made each and every time we were together.

Crickets are singing

Each time we take a ride on the gold wing, my mind is left to wander the landscape. My thoughts follow the terrain, the fresh breezes floating past my face, and my gaze naturally turns to the sky. The moon, the clouds, the sunsets, the deep vast endless blue bids me to stay in the space of our togetherness. Until one of us breaks the silence to comment on some passing object or thought.

My boyfriend is here to pick me up…

One Sunday a few years ago, we were blessed to watch one of the elderly couples in our church treat each other with that same “dating” anticipation that a young couple does. While the gentleman had gone home to get the car only a few blocks from church, the wife watched with expectant yearning for his return. And when he pulled the vehicle up to the sidewalk in front of the double glass doors, she quipped, “Well, I better go- my boyfriend is here to pick me up.” We loved that affectionate display so much. My husband and I still talk about it.

Counting the stars…

Only when one cannot get back to sleep do the nights seem long, Summer nights are actually shorter. The lightening bugs that arrive near midsummer signal beautiful nights of gentle breezes. But with them come all the other bugs. While sitting by a campfire might be someone else’s idea of relation, riding on the gold wing where the windshield finds them first, is more preferred.

Years ago I think it was a Honda something or another that we first rode on. We aren’t the typical riders. During our Minnesota and Iowa years, we found. a pedal bike more frequently. Having children to keep exercised was important. Lately we have taken to walking 3-4 miles then riding 10 or more to cool off.

Just moving slow…

The dog might need a run, but even the walk doesn’t seem to be enough to remove the extra baggage we have been packing on lately. So turning the big five-O this year, both of us are into finding what “getting healthy” means to us. My dear hubby seems to be focused on getting fit that involves loosing pounds. For me getting fit is about getting back into my jeans before it gets cold again. Riding the motorcycle into the evening means that getting cold sometimes comes at eight or nine o-clock, rather than in September!

Moving slow happens more frequently than ever some days. Like when I landed on the ball of my foot to hard and could hardly step up to throw my leg over the back seat of the bike. Often, I am wondering if anyone thinks, what do those two kids think they are doing anyhow. Maybe a car would be easier. But moving slowly is better than not moving at all, right?

It’s easy to just let things slide during the summer. The days seem lazy and the clouds roll by in their own gently way. Suddenly, it is four pm and the day almost over, the list has to be rushed through to get anything done. Maybe that’s what fifty feels like. It feels like Sunday afternoon of a relaxing weekend, and the lawn has to mowed and the laundry has to be washed, and theirs a new pile of dishes in the sink.

These days of summer go too fast. Summertime of life when the kids are home yet and the school days are a distant future. OUr love story started in the spring, twenty eight years ago before the June bugs hid the screens at night. Now it seems the cicada’s are drowning out the nice cool evenings. Their song is so loud the frogs can hardly hear each other.

Fishing in the dark…

One year ago in the early days of June we dashed off to discover some new roads in our state. We found the heritage of our state larger than expected. From the statue at Chamberlain to the small back road churches south of Newton Hills, we enjoy touring these open places. Fishing for things will bait our conversations, and keep the romance in us alive. Staying close enough to home, to sleep in our own bed at night is fine with us.

We try not to ride at night too often. For one thing,my idea of fishing is the dark is when I drop something and can’t seem to find it, because it rolled across the floor. (Like the time my grand baby spit out the pacifier and I could find it!). Fishing in the dark for a shoe in the stack of soles by the front door has become a new nightmare of mine. Riding at night is rather a ride by the Braille of Smell for me. It’s the scents, the temperatures and the Lund’s only for me, I can’t see a thing.

Crickets are still singing…

Their noise hasn’t let up much. My sister use to tear the closet apart to get rid of one cricket. I figured that by the time I found it, another would have spawned. If crickets do such a thing. So while my husband and I fight to find what “being fit” means to us, the crickets are still singing. Meaning the days are still long enough to find out perhaps what that means. When and if we ever find it, we’ll let you know.

Or maybe you’ll just figure it out by looking at us. We’re still “fishing” for what that perfect exercise plan looks like. Maybe that’s what makes our love story ours… We’ve never even been fishing. Gavin doesn’t like bugs. Or rather mosquitoes, their mean.

It don’t matter…

That we’ve never gone fishing. It doesn’t matter that we don’t take vacations to tropical islands. It doesn’t matter that dreams don’t always come true. I have YOU! And that’s what matters. That after all that we have been through, we’ve been through it together. Through the good times, the bad times, whether smooth roads or rough trails, it still feels best that I have done it with my beloved.

Feels so good to be with you…

There is not a moment of our togetherness that I would change. We’ve had 27 years married. Longer than the years we were under our parents ponder-inns. While we might catch ourselves turning into our parents the next half-century, it still feels so good to be with you…

Baby get ready…

Gentle on the ginger, dear

Smoothies, celery, and other confessions

Gentle on the ginger, dear!”

This past weekend was a full one. It began with a nice out to eat experience. One that we had not done in a long time. Just us. Then we had a visit to an “old” friend, don’t mind my calling her old. She’s well aware. The following morning however, my dear husband offered to make me a smoothie. It was all fine until the ginger. Then we spent the day at an art fair. The week since seems like a blur.

About that smoothie… A shake or two of ginger in the smoothie is great to jump start the digestive system. But when the jolt of flavor reminded me that maybe there was a horse radish instead of a ginger root! – oh, boy! “Gentle on the ginger, dear” became the phrase for the rest of the meals this past week.. Food that has taste is great, but too much spice can give it a bite.

Once upon a headache ago, my massive migraine left me unable to focus on anything in print. So, I relied on my six year old daughter to tell me the recipe for the meatball spices. She however, not familiar with teaspoon or tablespoon markings or for that matter fractions, read the 1/4 teaspoons as one scoop of four tablespoons of PEPPER! We had to eat at the drive-inn that night. The meatballs were not even fit for the dog. What a funny memory.

After the whirlwind…

Our daughter came through at eight in the morning on a Saturday. It felt like a whirlwind hit us. On her way to a wedding, we jumped out of our Saturday lazy-mode to get up and serve her morning rush supplications. The smoothie in the middle of all the giddy-up, made it quite memorable!

There was not dust in my eyes after she left Saturday morning. Sure should have been. Then on Sunday after her talk at church, the wet dew in my eyes. Said moisture would not let me read my music during the service. The whirlwind of emotions that filled my heart took much time to settle down. The feeling that I need something to hang on to while the wind rushes by has occurred to me several times. I had a strong sensation that this “wind” would probably continue for the next two months of preparation for her leaving to missions internship. Praise the Lord that I have Him and that her reason for going is His plan.

Checkout confessions of children

Last Saturday’s plans were made to go visit my niece and nephews to the north. We attempted to speed through the morning chores that had been delayed an hour or so. We all enjoyed our time at the art fair as much as could be expected with the heat. The three little kids did great in spite of the frequent disappointments to not buy stuff. Later in the day, we enjoyed a child’s “checkout confession” to the cashier at Wally-world. On the belt were a variety of candies, items for a meal and some napkins. The little girl begins to tell the cashier that the candy is for her daddy. “He eats a lot of candy!” She announces for the the surrounding audience. Who really cares if the candy is for them or for someone else. It was obvious that the child had learned the shame and blame game quite well. We could barely stifle our snickers!

Rewind the clock…

Visiting with our neighbor to the south led me to thinking about her picture window. To begin with shortly after her husband passed, the hail came through and took care of her roof and her large picture window. It took quite a time to get the replacement in, ordering it, getting the lumber company and the insurance company to agree. There were affidavits of “truth” and proof of hail damage to apply for proper placement. It was a rig-a-more-al that left her wondering what in the world she was doing living in such a large house.

It is not the actual window that I thought of after our visit, but the window to her world. Rewinding the clock is something that happens quite frequently when we are together. The time just flies so fast when she tells her stories of their early life. The past, present and future that keeps her going day after day. She looked incredibly weak and frail after her loss. But now nearly two years later, she looks strong and amazing.

The Widow’s Window

A look at the present

A view to the past

A glimpse at the future

Of a hope that will last

The widow’s window

Is a world gone too fast.

-written July 13, 2018 by Yvonne Annette Clark (myself)

Old sayings and old people are some of my favorite things. One of my favorites from childhood was this silence breaker…

A penny for your thoughts…

I never really knew where it came from. And I never seemed to have a penny when the silence stretched on so long. Being around my daughter and her husband more recently brought this old gem of a saying to mind. His silence reminds me of the proverbs about the wise holding their tongue. People of much silence, have more wisdom locked up their hearts than the fools that have waggin’ tongues. Perhaps a penny is not enough for my son-in-laws thoughts!

Go FIG-urge

The figs are finally putting on some plumpness. It’s hard to understand the patience factor in a tree that holds onto it’s fruit for so long. Taking up to three months to ripen, the little trees are delicate. But ours is quite do for a trim job. The little one is now taller that the bigger tree. A fall trim job will take care of that. It is trying to escape the dome-home, I think.

Getting ready to get ready- no try options

While the weekend seemed to fly by and there are many little anecdotes that stick in my brain, the idea that one cannot “try” has been the stickiest. We cannot try to visit the widows or the orphans. We cannot try to be anything. We either are or we are not. This consideration came to me, while sharing some figs with my brother’s family. I also brought the fig newton bar cookies to share. Explaining that the kids had to “try” a real fig first was difficult. Finally, I said “taste” the real one and then you can have a cookie. My mother would not even look at the figs. Her example left a “bad taste” on the kids. But after their parents each ate one, then they gave it a go. Go FIG-ure!

Top of the mourning to ya’…

The bottom this celery stalk was cut off nearly two weeks ago. I keep them in a glass right next to the kitchen sink to root out and grow. Being patient is my new theme in gardening. So while I am writing for the roots to sprout before I take this out to the greenhouse, having it next to the sink assures me that I can keep the water at about an inch deep.

So while we were shopping the other day… Mourning the loss of my kitten friend, my husband bought me another turtle for the greenhouse. It’s fake. And no it doesn’t pet well. In fact the fish in the pond can’t be petted either. But perhaps I learned my lesson about getting attached to a cat.

We saw the garden turn into abundance before the crop begins to give. We saw a widow in her world of sorrow giving away her love and stories until we were too tired to stay awake any longer. We saw things at the art festival that seemed like just junk. We saw people enjoying themselves and others. We heard much that could be repeated in laughter and joy. But what I hope is that while our window of the world might be different or similar to others, we are not so stained by our own view that we cannot glimpse the world through someone els’s window.

James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and faultless before our Father God is one that visits widows and orphans in their affliction and keeps oneself unstained from the world.”

As my daughter gets ready to go on to her missions internship this fall, there seems to be a lot of “getting ready to get ready” in our lives. There are so many different ideas of “missions” work out there. While the world sees charity as “giving” of funds, true charity gives of self also. This view, this glimpse, this hope is fare more enduring than the simple things of this world that I live in. Yet it is this world that teaches me each and every day more about my Father God.

Open, Empty, Ready

“Open arms are empty arms”

Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call out to Me, I will answer them. Before they even begin speaking, I will hear”

These days when I go to visit my young daughter and my infant granddaughter, I am reminded of this verse. The little infant barely begins to whimper and her mother is there to tend her need. Before Isabelle can even cry out in hunger her mother is there to feed her. The idea that God answers us quicker than a breastfeeding mother came to me as I heard this verse in a book I was listening too.

God, the Deliver.

The one who is so ready to come to our aid. To fill our hungering hearts with his supply. There are days when my heart aches incredibly with thirst for something. I imagine myself as an infant ready to cry out for filling with sustenance of faith, or hope and God gives me just what my longing spirit needs even before I begin to cry.

At the beginning of this year 2018, I made a plan to write a blog each week. To get into the habit of writing. By the time I had reached March, my planner in my notepad was filled for the first half of the year. As more ideas came rushing in, some of those plans got pushed into the second half of the year. I finished June with 29 blogs for the year so far. The plan had been for 26. Half the year, and the cup of inspiration had overflowed. My cup of ideas “overfloweth.” The second half of the year has plans-a-plenty. The idea was that July would begin with the cup half full or the cup half empty. The decision would be made at the beginning of the second half of my blogging schedule.

Half full or half empty?

When people ask for just a half cup of coffee, we often want to tease them and say bottom half or top half? I always want the top half filled. That way I can have a whole cup more! But when years ago God brought me to a an “open arms versus empty arms” decision, my thoughts were not very humorous at all

Open or empty?

Once upon a time I was a young mother with dreams to fill my home with the laughter of children. Many children. My husband said after the first, “one is good.” After the second came along, I told him “two is better.” Then I began praying for a chord, a third strand. It never happened.

For years, after the secondary barrenness arrived, I felt God had responded to my plea with empty arms. My arms had been so open to more children, to more than two. God answered my pleas with a number of early first trimester miscarriages. What was a mother to do? I focused all my attention on the two girls that I was blessed with. Never believing that any stage was something to get through, but enjoying even the teenage years. Our daughters were nothing typical. There was nothing normal to our family years.

Sometimes silence is deafening.

The quiet days that follow a home school mother’s retirement was nearly enough to deafen my heart to any sound that my Lord might try to whisper to me. What…? The days that came after the girls left for college became so empty and quiet. Sometimes I turn the television up just to drown out my own screaming thoughts.

The days that I longed for their company soon turned into challenges to my eyesight. Not long after I got used to nothing ever changing in my environment, then the things that they brought home became stumbling blocks. Finally I became to frustrated that I just sit down and watch then do the cooking when they come to visit. Otherwise, because of my eyesight, I spend all my time looking at the food, the table, the laundry, or the floor for things that could trip me. I soon realized, I didn’t get to see my daughters at all when they came home. I spent the whole time seeing things. These “face-less” visits left me feeling like my arms were empty rather than open to their visits.

How can I move from having that empty arms feeling to an Open Ams attitude?

This same empty feeling hit me one day hard when my emotional emptiness made me throw up verbally on unannounced guests. Explaining the idea of surprise being more like running into a brick wall than being a Christmas present is hard. Having a visual impairment like mine is difficult to explain to others. Another difficult, Christmas presents. But that’s a whole other topic.

Having open arms while walking blindfolded is not the best option. So having retinitis pigmentosa teaches one to put hands out in front (it is a saving face kind=of=move). Lately however, my darkroom expiences have exposed my tired brain’s lack of thinking. I am reminded of one of the favorite lines in one of our family’s favorite movies. ” We’ll just have to use our brains then.” Learning to concentrate on my dance moves while I step away from the sink isn’t easy. Especially since I was never a dancer.

One of the songs that I wrote years ago before the schooling days was titled “Are you ready?” In it the verse from Jeremiah is quoted “When you seek Me then you will find Me.”

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart.”


That’s something I find myself doing far too frequently. I look for lost bottle caps. I hunt for dropped silverware. I find more that what I am looking for and quite frequently I find nothing at all. Looking down the center of a wrapping paper tube was once an imaginary game as a child. Now it is my daily lot.

With all…

With my whole being I long for a different outcome to my plight. But alas, I already know the end of the movie. The last chapter has already been written for the lives of those with RP. The epilogue is the whole story. The rest of the experience once the days turn to “after.” Right now i am still in the “before.”


Before I die I want to… This sort of thing is called a bucket list. There was a whole movie written about that. One fellow lives each day like it’s the last, the other like it is the first. One has a mindset of half-full, the other like it is half-empty. One person stands with open arms, another stands with empty arms. Or is it both…?

Are you ready?

Are you ready? / Are you ready to do My will?

Are you ready? / Are you ready to do My will?

When you seek Me, you will find Me, you will know My will.

Search for Me, / Watch for Me, / And be still…

Search for Me / Watch for Me / And be still.

(Song and poem copyright 1999 by Yvonne Annette)

So while I sit and listen to this old CD recorded in my “early years” at the fresh age of 30, I think about all that has happened in the last twenty years. Musically, my life has changed dramatically. Family wise well, a son-in-law and a grand-daughter have been added to our lives. Others have answered the call of the Creator to “come home.” What a change.

Have I really changed though? While I sit here, with open, empty, and ready arms I wonder what God will fill my hands with next. At the moment, it is an IPad tablet.

The year indeed has half-passed like the clock at half past the hour, the minutes, moments and years have been filled. Sometimes with what God planned for me and sometimes wasted away in my own lack of planning. Yet our Lord has always been faithful, filling even the lack with abundance. The year has been half-filled with memories and many more await to fill the top half of the cup. Or is it the bottom?

God is no respecter of persons and gives to all liberally (James 1:5). I have learned that to be ready with open arms means that they must be empty arms. I ask that God gives me a half-full attitude, and open heart, and hands filled with His purpose.

When I



When I feel inadequate

When others point out blunders

When uncultured praises rubbish attempts

When someone sees a crumb

When planks feel like boulders

When feelings are numb and sting

When emptiness drums loudly

When tethers fall or fray

When painful moments color all worlds grey

When perfection outweighs awkwardly graceless

When intelligence wrestles tongue tied blubbering

When I feel inadequate






The Driftwood

“…between water and rock…”

The driftwood

From broken bough has blown

Fallen, fallen, fallen down

Upon the wetted stone, the ground.

Rain and sun, snow and shade

Weathers its splinters

color knots a new shade.

From crevice it bades

Farewell to life

it once has known

Holding up sky

With leaves full grown.

The driftwood rides the rapids now

It crashes and dashes

Among rocks and prow.

The flooded waters haul it away

Sparing no mercy, the foam and the spray.

The driftwood tumbles and plays

Finding no purpose

No place to stay.

Until at last

The river coughs it up

And the driftwood lands

Between water and rock.

Until one day a passerby

Sees beauty and hopes

That planning and thought

Could make a shelf, or frame, or not.

Perhaps the driftwood remains

Discarded and lost, a stray

Waiting for some passerby

to pick it up

And give it hope,

To provide a purpose

Among sticks and boards

And mantel and bricks.

Among trusses and trellis

And windows and such,

Among ceilings and rafters

And chairs and canes,

Among stables and barns

And gardens and graves,

The driftwood waits..

This poem has been a thought in process for the last six months.

Casting shadows

Second glance at second looks

recently, a friend of ours relayed to us a happenings to him at a funeral visitation that we had both attended. While walking across the room to give his condolences, an elderly women exclaimed, “Why you haven’t aged one bit. How are you these days>”. He did not have the heart to tell her that he was not his father and that he had not indeed gone to night school with her. She had glanced at him and saw her old high school friend. While his second look at her reminded him just how elderly his father really was. This second glance at her second look towards him had not made him feel good because he had not aged. In reality it had made him feel old if he must look like his father.

There is nothing more defining in one’s life than finding out that one is soon to be a grandma.  The expectation of the little child for the first time brings out the raw emotions of pride, joy, hope, and humility.

There is a pride that puffs up one’s self-esteem in a very raw manner.  Pride of life and love for the expecting and for the expected.  As we anticipate the generations to follow and the brag books and the boasting power.  So many thoughts that bring about a healthy pride of life that is more joy than pride.

There is a joy that threads its way into all of life when one is going to be a grandparent.  Children bring energy and joy to the faces of the aged.  They also define one’s age in a telltale way that only hits the heart of the beholder in sudden reality of mortality.  So it was with that defining of who I am that drove me to pick up my Grandma Mildred Meeder’s handwritten genealogy.  It’s pages were copied by the xerox copy machine and the lines thus faded, led me to thinking of so many things.

The hope of a little one to do things for and with pulls from me a meandering thought pattern that is surreal.  Was this the kind of hope that kept my grandparents going from visit to visit?

Just down the road from us lies a neighborhood cemetery.  In that internment are the bones of some of my husband’s relatives.  His grandma once planted two small pine trees next to the graves of her parents. For nearly 80 years those trees marked the corner and the view of them signaled an ‘almost home’ feeling that kept us alert the last few miles of the drive home.  One dog that we had felt the emotion so strongly that it would succumb to sleep the last few miles as the peace attended his body.  When the windstorm in 2015 toppled those tall trees, our hearts were saddened by the loss of our relatives touch into our everyday life.

The two trees, their shade,  their shape on the horizon against the sky, the casting of shadows in to the future or rather the fingerprint of the past on our lives is now gone.

Yet  the physical traits of the past generations live on in the family that I now know.  There is a general tendency to proclaim likenesses upon the faces of infants.  Sometimes those traits aren’t even there. But the resemblance of the generations carries into the future on each little face.  To the point that this casting of shadows is fascinating to me.

Casting Shadows

While the rising sun behind me gets

the long list of names and lineage begets

A student of lines that my grandmother wrote

Of histories and births and death she note

The ages etched in my fingers and face

Past and present sent forth in lace

Were I like her in all that beauty

Were I like them in honour and duty

Their lives of dust now blots of ink

My shadow cast into a future ink

Look there, now gone the sun bids fade

Behold what lies beneath the tree of shade

_-Yvonne Clark October 30, 2017

The long mile

Road trip memoir

While walking the section today with our overly energetic golden doodle Honey, my thoughts fell into rhythm with my steps.  We are the only residence on our section.  There are two neighbors that live next to us, one to the west and one to the north.  So excepting the harvest activity it is rather a quiet walk.  Two grain trucks, one pickup and one combine greeted us.  Okay their drivers did.  Because our house lies in the middle of the section mile, the first corner is an easy jaunt.  The trek to the next corner southeast of us is also easy, because of the creek bed that breaks the walk up with its rolling terrain.  The long mile is the one in the middle.  Heading north on the east gravel road always gets me a little down.  It seems so long because there is really nothing to break up the distance in topography.  Looking off to the west the view of our acreage never seems to change.  It is a long mile away as the bird flies for the whole corner to corner march.  I find that my mind tends to be plagued with thoughts of “have I missed the turn” and “where is that hayfield anyways?” and “just put one foot in front of the other.”

The long mile is the one in the middle.

With the first suggestion of a road trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania to see my niece and nephew (my two elder sister’s first children) my anxiety over the trip nearly caused me to say no thanks.  I am not the best traveler for various reasons and sitting prolonged periods of time is not usually my favorite thing.  Crochet helps the sitting seem less endless.  

Then when my rib healed in it’s allotted timeframe, I decided I had no excuses.  Besides it would give me a captive audience for my entertaining mindset.  As a child I clearly remember mealtime as the opportune moment to crack jokes and tell stories.. I was always the final person to leave the table.  I took my role back immediately upon the first meal break from the vehicle.  While it was mentioned that perhaps the best suit for a birthday party was a birthday suit, I quipped in response “One must live life with no regrets, and that might be regretful.” Whereupon the eldest of daughters at the table nearly choked on her sandwich in laughter.  We had decided that what was spoken or confessed in the vehicle ought to stay in the vehicle.  The accountant in the family quickly proclaimed that the “birthday suit” conversation had not happened in the vehicle.  Bummer.  The whole scenario of four women traveling together soon became family “trip-tweets” (group messages) that divulged the whole secrets of women in the same family taking a road trip together.

The tattle tale was the child in the middle.

Collecting things has always been our mother’s joy on journeys.  Whether if its rocks, leaves, acorns or maps, she can always find something to collect.  Because the trip was an ‘on-a-mission’ trip to see the first and second grandchildren, and the first great-granddaughter, there was no time for the number outs antique malls, state parks, river views, or shopping establishments that we sped past.  However, because a driver so loves backseat navigators, my mother had to collect a map from each state that we entered.  At one point on the road when the rest stop did not have a map, there was a half purposed visit to the rest area on the return trip, “Because maybe they’ll have a map of this state here.”

Geography was fun for me once.  But these days the maps are mostly in my head.l My eyesight doesn’t make it very easy to view the map, so the visual just remains in the modem..And because I never drive anywhere I refuse to learn my google map app on my phone.  It saves me the trouble of having to watch for things that I can’t see anyways.  Like street signs and road signs that aren’t boldface type!  At one city during the ride, my eldest sister, who did all the driving, asked sister number two in the front passenger seat to pull up her phone navigation so that she would have a second set of directions.  My mother thought that it was quite vascinating that though there had previously been four women in the car, now there were six women.  And add to that the fact tat these last two entrants, Ms. Garmin, and Miss Google couldn’t seem to agree.  Later in in the drive through Pittsburg, she declared them to be fighting and our trip had been so peaceful until that moment of disagreement.  Well, we thought it was all pretty funny except for the downtown slum passageway out of the city.  

The best part of the trip was the middle.

Visiting the niece, nephew, his wife, and the grand-niece proved to be quite worthy of the effort.  The stories of our adventures will be told and retold through the years to come.  The joy of the nieces lives and the zest for busy-ness with a two year old will keep the tales going.  When you have four generations in one room it is always the youngest that gets the most attention.  And her busy little mind can make all the adults suddenly speak “toddler!”

The long hours of visiting and the baby of the family joining by face-time will not be forgotten.  And though the long miles of the the middle days were hard on the body, the comrade rice of family togetherness was worth the sore backs.  Having common bonds makes the togetherness even more vi….  Our family has been blessed to all be of the same mind in Christ also.  The daily devotions, prayers for meals, and safety, and the conversation that kept our minds on things above were special moments.  Though we took all interstates, highways and avoided toll-roads, this poem that I wrote to music a number of years ago seems to fit this memoir of our trip.

The Road Less Traveled

There;s a road less traveled, And yet it leads to more.

A journey full of blessings, and the end so much more.

Jesus, Lord, and Master, Savior, King and Friend,

I will follow when you call me Knowing eternity has no end.

Oh, the road less traveled  Is narrow and unsure

Difficult the passage. Of those who’ve gone before

Jesus, Lord and master, Savior, King and Friend

I will follow where you lead me. Knowing eternity has no end.

The journey has a Shepherd. Counselor and Lord

My Shiled and My Comfort. Deliverer and more

Jesus, Lord and Master, Savior, King and Friend,

A know that You are with me on this journey that has no end.

There’s a road less traveled And yet it leads to more

The journey full of blessings And the end so much more

—Yvonne Clark, October 29, 2993